Vandals Hit Local Water Authority’s Supply System

Wood thrown into the channel

Murphys, CA – Vandals inflicted thousands of dollars in damage to the utility system of a Calaveras County water agency, and public help is now being sought to catch the suspects.

The crime occurred sometime over the weekend of March 6th in the Utica Water and Power Authority (Utica) public water system east of Forest Meadows near the end of Pennsylvania Gulch Road in the Murphys area. Agency officials note that this is the only water supply for more than 10,000 residential, commercial and agricultural customers between Murphys and Angels Camp.

Utica officials said two or more people committed vandalism after bypassing a locked gate marked “No Trespassing” to access a wooden canal on the North Fork Stanislaus River. While there, the vandals threw some wood, piled on a wooden platform to mend flumes, down the steep, rocky canyon wall. Other boards were thrown into the gutter, creating several “wood jams”, which fortunately did not cause the water to run over the channel banks. Utica officials estimated the cost of the damaged or destroyed materials and the time it would take to clean up the mess at several thousand dollars.

Video surveillance and photos, as well as tire tracks, footprints and other evidence left at the crime scene, are under review by the Calaveras County Sheriff’s office. Utica officials add that foot patrols have been stepped up in the system and additional security cameras have been installed since the crime so that Utica can notify the sheriff’s officers immediately if necessary. They ask that if anyone sees suspicious activity near the channel and ditch system, call the detectives at (209) 754-6500 or the anonymous helpline at (209) 754-6030. Information can also be sent directly to Utica at [email protected] or (209) 736-9419.

Written by Tracey Petersen.

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